Water. It is an essential part of survival to quench our physical thirst. The water bottle has played a significant part of my childhood. I was told to always carry it wherever I went so that it would keep me hydrated throughout the day and that is the first thing I get up to do which is to wash and fill the bottle with water. But we also carry a “water bottle” which is in our hearts that contains the Holy Spirit and the word of God.
The gospel begins by saying,“Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her,”Give me a drink.”His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him,”How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”-For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her,”If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you,”Give me a drink,” you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,”Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep, where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him,”Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, Go and call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him,”I do not have a husband.”Jesus answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her,”You are right in saying,”I do not have a husband.”For you had have had five husbands,and the one you have now is not your husband. What you said is true.”The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her,”Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship that you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him,”I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her,”I am he, the one speaking with you.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him. When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days.Many more began to believe him because of his word, and they to said to the woman,”We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world (John 4:5-42).”
Wow, this third Sunday of Lent, I finally got to see the backstory of the Samaritan woman at the well. Other than just physical thirst, the woman thirsts for forgiveness and acceptance from her community as she is far from perfect. Despite her shame and brokenness, Jesus continues in conserving her and offering her the living water which is the grace and love to see her as a person and not someone who is defined by her past. She resorts to draw water from the well at 12 noon which is the hottest time of the day to avoid the attention from her town folks.
The Samaritan woman is taken aback by the words of Jesus but later accepts that He is the Messiah and that the living water flows through him. After believing in the words of Jesus, the woman is freed from her past and passes the good news to her fellow town folks. It must have been a great joy and burden to be loved by God. There are ample chances to be led to restful waters and to be restored to wholeness. Do we allow Jesus to strike up a conversation with us and for us to continue the conversation with him?
Jesus shows us the truth and sends forth the Holy Spirit to guide us, just like how the Samaritan woman is freed from her burdens and bonds of shame and brokenness. She can now live her life without fear of ridicule and she can now live out her life with confidence and hope in the living water which is God.
Most of the time especially in the final run up till graduation, sometimes I feel like the Samaritan woman, choosing to be locked away and hiding away from God. However, Jesus has a funny way of finding us through the least expected ways and the more we try to hide or run, he will always find us. Like the lost sheep, the Good Shepherd will always account for all the sheep, even going all out to look for the lost ones. Jesus, all of us irregardless of our backgrounds, sees the value and treasures us as his sons and daughters.
May we continue to pray for us to grow closer to Jesus by having a conversation with him and to turn to the living water which quenches both our physical and spiritual thirst that only he can provide. In this Lenten season, may we experience the freedom to not hide in darkness, but to embrace the lightness and refreshing water that Jesus offers us.Amen!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong